How Does Deforestation Impact Birds?
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Published: Mon, 16 Jul 2018
This assignment is based on the impact of deforestation on bird communication. Basically, there are two ways in which birds communicate, that is by powerful sight and vocal sound. They also have an important hearing also since they would have to different sounds produced by their own kind. Hearing is actually affected by noise produced from their environment. Because they have to fly all the time their vision has to be very active hence, they are well protected by nictating glands. They don’t have binocular vision and this permit them to view all round vision. These well developed senses help birds to live in their habitat without much disturbance since they detect change quickly and migrate to safer grounds.
Deforestation on bird Communication
It is stated by (Raven 1988) that two-thirds of the world’s species are found in the tropical rainforest. Due to advance technologies and the demands of the world’s population for adequate survival there has been rapid deforestation increase globally that has resulted in extinction of species. Since most species are not discovered as yet, an accurate record on the loss of species may not be present. Only the ones registered under the IUCN will be accounted for. Generally, the total number of species lost globally will be difficult to retrieve rather than species found in a given region. Species that are not endemic will become threatened/endangered easily due to the fact that they haven’t yet be rediscovered. In today’s world deforestation has made a great impact on bird communication by influencing their habitat and lifestyle simultaneously hence, emphasis is being placed to rectify the forthcoming effect on this outcome.
Deforestation is known as the removal or destruction of large areas of rainforest and vegetation to fulfill the needs of the population. More than 80% of the earth’s natural forest have been removed already (national geographic). This activity is carried out by loggers who see this as a job opportunity since, it is being enhanced into lumber used for construction and decorative purposes. Loggers do this on a large scale without allowing the forest to revive. Farmers clear natural vegetation by the common slash and burn method, among others for agricultural purposes in which they gain an income and consume for survival. When the soil becomes depleted of nutrients they clear another area and leaves the former to erode away rather than replant. Natural disaster also plays a part in deforestation, some parts in the US have extensive forest fires that removes forest lives at extreme temperature. Forested areas is being exploited by policy makers to allocate housing for the growing population and mining activities to provide jobs for individuals. Construction of dams to maintain a affordable lifestyle for humans have also lead to deforestation and removal of biodiversity for comforting one population neglecting the others. Because of these activities other organisms has to pay the price by being endangered. There will be a reduction of biodiversity since their habitat is destroyed and those who can adapt very quickly will have no problem. Flooding of ecosystem will take place due to erosion of soil and no vegetation to infiltrate water hence, water table will be lowered. Limited space will be provided for adapted animals to share so their foraging activities will be reduced along with food supply. Drought will be more common since temperature will rise, surface water and that of plants will not be available for evaporation hence, amount of rainfall will be reduced. Lastly, there will be an increase in greenhouse effect which leads to global warming. Stated in NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC article “ Trees are natural consumers of CO2 which is one of the greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming by building up in atmosphere. Destruction of trees remove C-sink, release more CO2 by tree burning and decomposition.” Picture below shows large scale deforestation.
Bird communication basically when a bird sings to claim a personal territory (Dr. Lee). They tend to mark a particular property in a particular place which they need to do to show ownership among species. The sound is produced by their vocal organ or syrinix located between the junction of their trachea and bronchi. It is used as a communicatory device and also as body language communication to suit their environment and various situations in reply to their lifestyle and ecological behaviour. These include their feeding and foraging behaviour, they require large space among species to gain access to food. Hence, they sing to mark their territory of food and give indication for colleagues to feed. They would want no intruder and tend to extend their territory for alternative food supply. They give a warning call when they sense danger and also make sounds to evade predators. In some cases they use silence as a warning call so they wouldn’t be detected by predators e.g. hawk. During flocking and social behaviour sound is needed to communicate among themselves and even others, in fighting and marking territory, courtship and mating, in nesting and parental behaviour and finally, in the display of male dominance. All these behavioural pattern requires a different sound to distinguish what sort of situation they are in before one can actually render assistance. Birds live conspecific in their habitat, by doing so they create a niche that would benefit them in every possible way such as easy feeding access, a range to forage in and a habitat they could call their own. The range would provide birds with food so that there will be no need for them to waste energy to acclimatize to a new source hence, feeding becomes accessible anywhere, anytime in that particular habitat unless there is disruption. Since their metabolic rates are high they would require a large amount of food hence, they have to indulge in foraging activities to supply themselves. After constantly exploiting a habitat they would have to adjust to new food sources or find other resources, thus a new habitat will be selected as long as they can survive efficiently. Thereby, more large spaces becomes available for them to graze and procreate.
Deforestation entails the complete displacement of bird species or habitat loss by the large scale removal of canopy, trees and vegetation. These places provide a source of shelter and food for birds. In the trees most birds dwells especially when humidity is low, they rest and cool down in trees. In this thick vegetation a wide range of shade is provided hence, the area would have a lot of other wildlife that is used as s source of food for birds so they wouldn’t have to fly long distances in search of food. There will also a continuous supply of of plant matter that specific birds feed on thus, these components will provide a community of bird species to inhabit this region. The removal of trees decrease the food supply of birds and they would have no place to call their habitat. There will be an imbalance of ecosystem. Birds will have to find new habitat to acquire their daily nutrient requirements. This may pose a problem since, there is no guarantee that the niche would be empty to accept birds. Other species may live there hence, food has to be shared and intrusion of privacy may occur. Some birds can tolerate these condition while others cant so you will find that the ones to adapt to this environment will survive (survival of the fittest) while the other will continue to roam if they find no satisfactoryly place their number will gradually decrease leading to extinction because there is no food to supply them. Now, if too many species inhabit the same habitat competition will lead to some species dying out and that habitat will be exploited over a short period of time. The cutting down of trees would leave the top soil vulnerable to leaching and erosion and void of any meaningful life. This would mean that birds who act as pollinating agent will not be able to do so anymore so land is left to become barren. Regrowth may take many years to occur. In well established habitat various species would create microhabitat in which they can carry out their personal activities such as breeding and reproduction. If no home is present birds cannot lay hence, their population will be reduced. They are also more exposed to predator since they will have no hiding space leaving more chances for them to become endangered. Birds in this state would have no social life since they would have to keep moving and get accustomed to new species, even if their used to be a benefit for their survival. The environment will also become unsuitable for mating since there will be no site for courtship because there will be a lack of provision of basic materials. In terms of nesting, materials will not be available to construct a comfortable nest for young to survive. When mother would go in search of food to feed them they will be more prone to predators since they will not be able to run away or defend themselves by flying high in trees because their is none and they would not be strong enough to give a warning call or produce a sound that would scare predator away so they are being feasted upon. There will be no territory to mark since they lose all their living and feeding habitat. The land becomes dry and barren over time hence, tamper with the the nature and influence life forms in forested areas. Land becomes unproductive and serves no purpose. In the cases of natural deforestation it can be beneficial in some ways. It removes the vegetation cover but it also brings with it a rejuvenation of forest by adding other nutrients that can make the area favourable for a new group of species. It provides a variability of ecosystem over a period of time. Artificial deforestation change the whole balance of an ecosystem and bird’s lifestyle. It exhaust the soil and invade wildlife species. It weaken a forest resilience ability by exploitation of its resources and presistence.
In Central Amazonia some species of galliform birds that disperses seed is being threatened due to hunting and habitat destruction (Mr. Borges). Because of deforestation there is need now for the conservation of these birds. Their reproduction is limited if they aren’t present in their natural environment. They tend to survive quite adequately in a regrown forest.
In Southeast Asia there is quite a few numbers of threatened bird species (Thomas Brooks et al). this is due to the large scale deforestation done, which was suppose to held develop the countries. He thought only endemic bird would be prone to extinction. Based on the result he collected there was fluctuation between increased and decreased number of species. He concluded that deforestation affects species with small range and also bird species that will become extinct is very similar to the ones listed as threatened.
In Australia a survey was done on quite similar bird species (Westphal et al) which showed that these birds adapted well to changes made in a few places in their inhabited forested area. They were able to live comfortably without making changes to their lifestyle. These birds are small and are very long distance flyers so they can adapt very easily.
Based on the following investigation it can be concluded that some birds are vulnerable to complete habitat destruction. Some birds can withstand partial destruction of their habitat while some can adapt to the changing environment. This is due to the nature and structure of the birds as in how quickly they can do things for themselves i.e. some birds can fly and some cant and so on. If forested areas are gradually disappearing, some time in the future all birds are bound to be affected due to increasing predator-prey relationship, place to shelter and mostly because of a decline in food supply. To combat a situation like this policy makers are calling on leaders around the world to make a change. This can be done by sustainable forestry where parts of the forest removed is being replaced before it can be used again. In doing so, CO2 level will not increase in the atmosphere hence, more fresh oxygenated air will be available for bird to breathe in. Reforestation should also be carried out in areas than was completely exploited. This may take years so the future species will benefit if we start now since it is not a money consuming process. The little forest that remains should be conserved by using it wisely so that wildlife can be preserved and eco-forestry can be established. In other words by just having a forest pays, people actually pays to have a view of the various bird species worldwide. Legal wildlife trade can also be carried out to expand species richness.
In addition to the decline of birds due to deforestation, it is not yet fully understood since much effects of this hasn’t been stated clearly. A report carried out by (Duston et al) noted that in primitive times when deforestation was minimum bird species was still going extinct even before they became known to science but no reason was recorded for this. This must have been because the birds were hugh and clumsy hence, they were hunted to extinction. Most of them must have been flightless, competed for food and environmental conditions became unfavourable. Thus, modern birds evolve more efficiently for fast flight and increased activities.
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